On Monday, Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus released his player comps for PFF’s top 150 prospects in this years draft, and there were numerous Pittsburgh Steelers connections, most notably at the wide receiver position.
According to Renner, the next version of Steelers receivers like Martavis Bryant, Emmanuel Sanders and JuJu Smith-Schuster can be found in the 2023 NFL Draft. Renner sees Bryant-like physical traits in TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston.
“It’s all there. Johnston has every uncoachable physical tool. A little polish, and he’s a true No. 1 receiver in the NFL,” Renner wrote.
While Johnston has similar measurables to Bryant, he is a by far better prospect coming out. Johnston is projected to go in the first round (possibly the top-10), while Bryant fell to the fourth round in 2014 due to off-the-field concerns, which ended up being true and derailed his career. Renner has Johnston as the 10th ranked prospect in this year’s draft.
Jordan Addison, the former Pitt wide receiver and teammate of Kenny Pickett, was compared to Sanders. The Addison-Sanders comp actually makes a lot of sense, as Sanders was known to be a savvy route-runner when he was selected in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Steelers out of SMU.
“Addison has one of the higher floors among receivers in the draft class due to his blend of route-running chops and all-around athleticism. That’s a great starting point for someone who just turned 21 years old in January,” Renner wrote.
With Stanford wide receiver Michael Wilson’s ability to fill any role at receiver, Renner sees similarities to Smith-Schuster. Wilson is 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, so he does give off that big slot type of vibe that Smith-Schuster excels at. Wilson is also not afraid to get his nose dirty and block, which is something that Smith-Schuster has been great at throughout his career.
Renner also compared South Dakota State tight end Tucker Kraft to Steelers legend Heath Miller, which was kind of interesting. Kraft is Renner’s 79th ranked player in this year’s draft. Kraft is 6-foot-5, 256 pounds, which is actually the same measurables as Miller.
“Kraft may not have the eye-popping physical ability of others in the class, but he ticks all the boxes of a starting tight end in the NFL,” Renner wrote.
There were quite a few Steelers connections on the defensive side of the ball, as well. Wisconsin inside linebacker Nick Herbig’s comp is fellow former Badger Joe Schobert, USC edge rusher Tuli Tuipulotu was compared to DeMarvin Leal and Utah cornerback Clark Phillips III was linked to Mike Hilton. Illinois safety Sydney Brown was also compared to Steelers’ fourth-round pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, Shamarko Thomas, while the Illini’s other safety prospect Jartavius Martin player comp was Damonte Kazee.